U.S. Rep. Greg Walden faces a challenge from Democrat Jim Crary for Oregon’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives in the November election.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee from Oregon’s Second Congressional District, is seeking re-election and believes his record speaks for itself.
Walden, who was first elected to the large district encompassing all of Eastern Oregon in 1998, said in a statement he has passed more bills through the U.S. House of Representatives than any other member of the Oregon House delegation in this term and all terms.
This term, he said he’s passed seven bills, more than 94 percent of the other House members, including helping bring commercial air service back to Klamath Falls, accessing funding for bridges in the Columbia Gorge and helping improve rural internet service for consumers.
“Throughout my time in public service, I’ve worked very hard to be the voice for the people of the enormous Second Congressional District and solve problems so that we can better care for our veterans, grow our economy, better manage our lands, and fight threats to our safety and security,” he said. “... I often hear the same frustrations from residents: concerns about an overreaching federal government stifling rural economies and livelihoods.”
Walden said federal agencies need to do a better job listening to local communities affected by land management decisions. He said he is strongly opposed to a proposed 2.5 million-acre national monument in Malheur County and gained House approval to prevent funding for a monument declaration.
“The area is already protected by seven layers of government rules and regulations ...” he said. “I’ve also stood up against wilderness proposals on the Ochocos and at Crater Lake that have faced strong local opposition and would severely limit recreational access and fire management.”
Walden said he will continue to work on efforts to better manage public lands. He said the House has passed bipartisan legislation “to fix broken federal forest policy,” including using wildfire prevention funds to pay for fire suppression, for the fourth year in a row. He said the Senate should pass the plan but pointed to some successes in the area, including increasing funding firefighting and hazardous fuel reduction.
Walden said veterans are a top priority and that he has helped more than 5,000 in the Second Congressional District with issues involving benefits. He said senior Veterans Administration officials should be held accountable and veterans should have access to care outside the VA in the communities in which they live.
He said protecting seniors and improving health care in rural Oregon is also important. He said he helped prevent a spike in Medicare premiums and cuts to Social Security disability payments. He said drug addiction and mental illness also need attention.
Walden said he worked on legislation for a long-term transportation funding plan to improve the safety of roads, highways and bridges. He said he has also fought to improve the safety of railroads and rail tank cars and will continue to do so.
“I enjoy helping people and working to solve problems in our communities, our state, and our nation,” he said. “I take my job as a representative very seriously, and look forward to earning the trust of the voters once more in November.”
Jim Crary, a Democrat, is running for U.S. Congress in Oregon’s Second Congressional District.
Crary doesn’t have an extensive background in politics, something he said might give him an advantage against his opponent, Rep. Greg Walden, whom he describes as a “career politician.”
Though Crary considers himself an underdog, he said this inspires him to work even harder. If elected, Crary promised to represent the people and not special interests. He said the biggest issue he would tackle while in office would be campaign finance reform.
“I am so angry, upset and disgusted with how much money is in politics right now,” he said. “It’s obscene as far as I’m concerned. It gives people that have the money an inordinate amount of influence.”
He wants to propose a constitutional amendment that would only allow U.S. residents living in a district that is affected by the vote to give money to a campaign. He would also cap the amount any citizen could donate at $2,600 in the primary election and $2,600 in the general election.
The second issue Crary wants to address if elected is climate change. Despite working for BP for 25 years, Crary said he is a firm believer in switching to renewable energy and electric cars.
There is currently a $7,500 federal income tax credit available to the first 200,000 buyers of electric cars. Crary would like to see the tax credit available for anyone wishing to buy an electric car.
He would also want to impose a carbon tax on gas and diesel sales and put the money earned from the tax into renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biomass. Energy created from these sources could then be used to power electric cars, he said.
The third issue Crary is concerned with is crumbling infrastructure.
“The U.S. used to have infrastructure that was the envy of the world,” he said. “We don’t have that anymore.”
He points to the fact the national gas tax has not been raised since 1993. He says a 20-cent-per-gallon tax increase would give the nation enough money to repair its roads and bridges as well as provide high-speed internet to rural areas.
He said another way to help pay for the country’s mass of deferred maintenance would be to borrow more money, adding to the national debt. Crary said now is the time to borrow money as interest rates are at “historical lows.”
He said that updating the nation’s infrastructure would provide a myriad of jobs, kickstarting economies across the nation and putting people to work.
Crary said he would also try to change congressional terms and limits, so representatives would spend less time trying to get re-elected and more time representing the people. He said he wants to extend the current two year terms and impose a 12-year maximum term limit to prevent what we calls “professional politicians.”
Crary said he has no desire to make a career of politics. He said he wants to take office, make hard decisions and real change and then return home.
“I don’t consider myself a politician,” he said. “I call myself a candidate.”